US Supreme Court Agrees to Review Affordable Care Act — for the Third Time

Affordable Care Act supporters demonstrated in front of the US Supreme Court after the court upheld the law in 2015. Photo: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP Images

The fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is once again in the hands of the US Supreme Court. On March 2, the court announced that it would hear a case challenging the health law, a wide-ranging measure that “touches the lives of most Americans, from nursing mothers to people eating at chain restaurants,” wrote Reed Abelson, Abby Goodnough, and Robert Pear in the New York Times. This will be the third time the court will rule on the ACA since President Barack Obama signed it on March 23, 2010.Essential Coverage

“The justices will review a federal appeals court decision that found part of the law . . . unconstitutional and raised questions about whether the law in its entirety … Read more

Online Coronavirus Tests Are Just The Latest Iffy Products Marketed To Anxious Consumers

Companies with experience in the “at-home” testing market began announcing in mid-March that they would be offering direct-to-consumer test kits for COVID-19.

With panic running high and tests at hospitals and doctors’ offices hard to come by, the appeal was obvious.

The kits were touted as a way for consumers to manage this difficult situation themselves. No struggle to see the doctor. No calls to the health department. No waiting in line at a drive-thru test site. Instead, consumers could collect their own samples, by either swabbing the throat or cheek or spitting into a cup. The samples would then be mailed back to the companies’ partner laboratories, which would test for the coronavirus. Prices ranged from $135 to $181.

But criticism was swift. At-home tests could be skimming the resources needed for lab-based tests. There is also the possibility of people collecting their samples incorrectly and questions about follow-up … Read more

Flare-ups and how to handle them

If you live with persistent pain of any kind, you’ll know what a flare-up is. Periods of time when pain is exacerbated and sustained at a higher than average level over at least a few days, often longer. Flare-ups always settle down – but oh my, it can feel like they’re going on forever!

Handling a flare-up is not quite the same as handling everyday pain. Everyday pain, for those of us who manage it independently of healthcare professionals, usually needs a generally steady routine, not too many surprises. A regimen of movement, relaxation, fun, mindfulness, plodding on and managing stress. A little boring, if you will. Most people will add or subtract some medication (if there is some to help) and vary the activity level depending on the demands of the day.

But when a flare-up happens, some people can find themselves side-swiped and confidence can plummet, while the … Read more

OK, boomer: You’re not the only one who needs testing for hepatitis C

It turns out that many more people than just boomers can benefit from testing for hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver that often causes no symptoms. If you’re a member of the baby-boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964), your doctor may have already recommended the test. But those born before or after those years may not have known about the test unless they had a risk factor for hepatitis C, such as a history of intravenous drug use. A new guideline is changing this approach.

Why the different recommendations for baby boomers?

In 2012–2013, the CDC and the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) established guidelines that recommended all baby boomers be screened for hepatitis C. Boomers were singled out because this population had most of the undiagnosed infections.

Screening for hepatitis C is a big deal, because it’s a potentially serious and treatable infection affecting an … Read more

California Mobilizes for a Health Care Surge

Medical personnel at a testing site in Lake Elsinore, California, on March 22, 2020. Photo: Bob Riha Jr. / Getty Images

The spread of the novel coronavirus has upended life across the Golden State. On March 19, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order that all individuals living in California were to stay at home except for essential activities like buying groceries or getting necessary health care. Public schools, nonessential businesses like gyms and entertainment venues, and parking lots at many state parks and beaches, are closed.Essential Coverage

The health care sector, on the other hand, continues to serve patients while actively preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts predict that California’s surge hasn’t come yet. Grant Colfax, MD, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said he expects in a week or two to see a surge in coronavirus patients who need to be hospitalized, Erin Allday reported in … Read more

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